If a peer or client relationship goes south, work through these three questions to chart a new course.
Businessman talking with clients

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Do I want to repair it?

One angry buyer or seller, and the story can spread, affecting your bottom line. Given that—and the fact that we need others to help us succeed—it’s usually in your best interest to repair the relationship.

Can it be repaired?

If you approach the other person with respect for their interests, it can be. “You need to listen to truly hear what the other person is saying,” says Daryl L. Braham, president of JSE Cos. in Fargo, N.D., and a trainer with Ion Leadership Consulting.

How do I repair it?

  1. Set a time to talk. Ask “Do you have a minute to talk? We’ve run into a rough patch, and I’m concerned about it.” Or: “I’d like to meet with you at your convenience to find a way to get through this. Are you willing?”
  2. Set the context. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted.
  3. Talk it out. Express appreciation; then frame the issue: “I’m concerned that progress has slowed because we aren’t communicating well.”Third, invite dialogue: “Help me understand your view of the situation.” Acknowledge their perspective and reciprocate.
  4. Make a deal. You’ll know you’ve mended fences when you find a solution with shared sacrifices and compromises.

Source: Carole Kaptur, consultant, National Association of REALTORS® Strategic Management Services Group